18 seconds…The amount of time provided for two individuals to conclude a Wrestlemania moment that had been two years in the making…A benchmark that unexpectedly served to catapult one career while condemning another to stagnant mediocrity.
Fans exploded with outrage at the sight of Daniel Bryan suffering a humiliating defeat on the biggest stage in the business. This anger certainly was justifiable, as a clear message was being sent by WWE management: good work kid, but Sheamus is our future.
What followed could have been a rapid decent back into the abyss (or worse, the WWE mid-card). Instead, Daniel Bryan managed to turn his status as a mere stepping stone into a career and life altering event. Although one simple word helped spark this revolution, Daniel Bryan’s versatility and magnetic personality has established him as a must-see superstar week in and week out.
Juxtapose this ascension with the increasing irrelevancy of Sheamus since his victory at Wrestlemania 28. This was his moment…An unquestioned vote of confidence that was supposed to propel him to a lengthy and fruitful run with the World Heavyweight Championship. The lengthy portion of that statement has been fulfilled, but I think that you’d be hard pressed to find a considerable number of individuals who would call this reign fruitful.
The simple fact of the matter is that the World Title has lost any semblance of significance in the last six months. Now let’s be clear, this reality does not completely fall at the feet of Sheamus, as he’s spent the bulk of his run in a feud with Alberto Del Rio…a rivalry that can be described as convoluted at best.
Nevertheless, the inability of Sheamus to progress past his whimsical attitude in order to evolve into a compelling champion simply cannot be ignored. This inconvenient truth was on full display during the train wreck that was the debate with the Big Show on Monday. He has been provided with every opportunity to take his character to the next level…Sooner or later, it’s time to admit that the experiment as failed.
I like Sheamus…I think he has above-average talent in the ring, a solid look, and a personality that garners legitimate pops on a regular basis. I simply believe that his character needs to be reworked as it has grown quite stale beyond any stretch of the imagination…In the meantime, a change at the top desperately is needed.
The obvious solution at this point is to begin the Dolph Ziggler era…In addition to holding the Money in the Bank briefcase, he has been an individual on the cusp of superstardom for what has felt like an eternity. It’s merely been a question of “when” rather than “if” for months on end.
Since Money in the Bank, I have been on record on numerous occasions saying that I truly believe that the proper way for Dolph Ziggler to cash in and become the champion is via an actual match rather than a spur of the moment post-match attack. For me, between his show-off gimmick and association with Vickie Guerrero, I have felt that his character lacks that final piece of killer instinct to reach the upper echelon.
I believed that his ascension requires a proper feud in which he declares that he will show the world just how damn good he is by pinning Sheamus in a legitimate match. Considering the untouchable and unbeatable manner in which Sheamus has been booked during the past year, this victory would set quite the tone going forward.
Despite my continuing belief that this would be an outstanding method to jumpstart Ziggler’s foray into the next level of his career, I simply don’t believe that there is time to continue the ongoing charade at this point…The World Title picture needs to be shaken up immediately…It needs to happen at Hell in a Cell.
Ziggler promised this much on Smackdown last week, and frankly, I can’t for the life of me think of any other reason to thrust Big Show into this situation…He’s going to knock Sheamus out after their match and Ziggler is going to cash in…It feels obvious…It feels inevitable…and dear God, I hope I’m right.
If the façade of a two-brand model has any hope of being maintained, the Heavyweight Champion has to establish himself as a top draw or at least someone currently on the path toward becoming a top draw. For all of Sheamus’ positive attributes, his current direction simply does not engender this type of status.
Questions still loom as to whether or not Ziggler will be able to fit that mold. Unfortunately, as we wait, the Heavyweight Title picture continues to fall in terms of relevancy each and every week that passes…Ready or not, I think the time has come to learn the answer.